I Mind When: Island Sayings written by Avonna Stevenson

“I Mind When…”

It is difficult for an Islander to recognize words and sayings which are unique to the Island because they are quite ordinary to those of us who use them all the time. Also, most Islanders, as their ancestors came “from away,” brought their expressions with them. So while the following sayings might not be unique, hopefully they will be interesting or amusing.

I mind when I was very young and shy with strangers I was often asked, “Cat got your tongue?” As I grew older and very inquisitive, my numerous questions sometimes received the answer, “It’s a doodle-daddle for a ‘horse’s bridle,’” or “It’s a silver-new-nothing to wind up the sun.” If I became a real pest I was told to, “Go home and tell your mother she wants you.”

When you dozed coming down the stairs in the morning, you were apt to be greeted with, “Are you up for all day?” or perhaps the less polite greeting, if you rose earlier than usual of, “What’s the matter, wet the bed?” If you felt grouchy you were accused of “getting up on the wrong side of the bed” or told to, “Go back to bed and get up right.” These remarks made you feel “hot under the collar” or “made your blood boil.”

Something really nice was “the bee’s knees” or the “cat’s whiskers.” The lady next door varies this by saying, “the cat’s ankles.” If you were told a secret, you were to “keep that under your hat.” A scolding might conclude with, “put that in your pipe and smoke it!”

When you went to Charlottetown to shop years ago and met a friend or neighbour, you were probably greeted with, “Are you in for the day?” or “Did you come in on the bus (often pronounced buzz)?”

During the Depression people often had “potatoes and point” for supper. This meant you ate potatoes and pointed at the pig house.

If you didn’t feel well you were “under the weather,” and any mysterious ailment my husband or his brothers and sisters had as children was probably “a severe case of the ‘pollywoggles of the diaphobiakilorium,” and the only cure for that was “a drink of small potatoes.”

If you dozed off in your chair you “were knocking nails”.

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